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Western Greenhouse business updates

01/10/2011 10:20:42 AM
Andy Nelson

Apache Produce expands into Nayarit

Nogales, Ariz.-based Apache Produce Co. will source greenhouse tomatoes, peppers and cucumbers from the Nayarit region of Mexico this season, said Alberto Maldanado, the company’s general manager.

The company built new greenhouses on about 25 hectares in the region, Maldanado said. The Nayarit production supplements the company’s main Mexican greenhouse production in Sinaloa.

Apache decided to expand into Nayarit to get a jump on the season, Maldanado said. Typically, production in Sinaloa runs from October to June.

The plan is for Nayarit production to begin a month earlier, in September, he said. It didn’t happen this season because of unseasonably cool weather.

In this first season, Apache expects to import just 250,000 to 300,000 packages of greenhouse vegetables from Nayarit, Maldanado said.

But he expects that to grow in future years.

“It’s a trial,” he said. “It will depend on the results. I think it’s going to work — the quality looks great.”

Apache expects to source vegetables from the new Nayarit operation through June or July. That could give the company extra supplies at the end of the Mexican greenhouse deal, too, since Sinaloa typically winds down in June, he said.

Oppenheimer Group introduces pepper

Vancouver, British Columbia-based The Oppenheimer Group has added a new employee to its greenhouse vegetable staff, said Aaron Quon, the company’s greenhouse vegetable category manager.

Darren Bonnell joined Oppenheimer in the new position of greenhouse category specialist Dec. 6, Quon said. His tasks will include working with growers on special projects and strategic initiatives.

Bonnell joins Oppenheimer from Langley, British Columbia-based BC Hot House Foods Inc., where he worked for the past seven years, Quon said.

At the end of December, Oppenheimer will introduce a new greenhouse miniature pepper pack, expected to be available through the end of May, Quon said.

The red, yellow and orange mini peppers will come in two-pound bags and dry pints, Quon said.

The past couple of years, the company’s Mexican growing partner, Divemex, has had good success growing minis in the field, he said.

Because of that strong demand, Divemex decided to try a greenhouse-grown mini, with the aim of marketing a more consistent and premium product, Quon said.

In other product news, despite continuing economic woes — not to mention the fact that greenhouse vegetables are often premium-priced products to begin with — Oppenheimer is seeing strong growth in its organic red and yellow bell program, Quon said.

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